Though termites do not fall under the category of flying insects, some of them can fly for a relatively short time period before losing their wings. Workers, soldiers, and alates are the three termite castes found inside a termite colony. Out of these three, only the alates can fly. These termites are sexually developed and their flying pattern is referred to as swarming. This is why the presence of flying termites at your home is the indication of a serious problem in the days to come. Luckily, however, there are quite a few flying termite control and prevention techniques you can implement.
Why do Termites Swarm?
Swarming of termites takes place for the purpose of breeding and starting new termite colonies. This stage is the beginning of the life cycle of the termites. During the swarming season, sexually developed and winged males and females abandon their nests and take flight. A large number of winged termites congregate in their flight and mate with other members from the same or other colonies. After successful mating, these flying termites shed their wings and start their new colonies.
How to Identify Flying Termites?
Timely identification is extremely essential in order to implement proper preventive measures against termite infestation. Fortunately, flying termites differ significantly in their appearance from other flying insects. Depending on their species, flying termites are found in a wide range of colors. In general, like other castes, the flying termites mostly have a tan or beige colored body. They are equipped with two straight antennae with a slight curve and two sets of wings that have same length. The wings are translucent or white in color and have a veiny appearance. Termites can also be identified by their thick body that comprises of just one part. Also, they do not have a constriction between the abdomen and thorax.
Often times, the identification of flying termites can be confusing because of their similarity with flying ants. In some instances, you may dismiss flying termites and white ants. However, please remember that there is no such thing as white ant.
Mentioned below are few quick tips to distinguish between flying termites and flying ants.
- Waist Shape: The waists of the ants have a pinched appearance between the abdomen and thorax. On the other hand, the body of the termites appear straight throughout.
- Antennae: The antennae of the flying ants tend to be bent in the middle. However, the flying termites have antennae that look like springs that can extend straight.
- Wing Length: Flying ants have wings with unequal length that layer upon one another. The wings of the flying termites are distinctly identifiable because they are symmetrical in nature.
Indications of Flying Termite Infestation:
Even if you are not able to see flying termites in and around your home, your house may have already fallen prey to them. Take immediate measures if you notice any of the following indications.
- Swarm of winged insects with beaded and straight antennae
- Mud concentrations on exterior walls and wooden beams
- Cracked paint or wood
- Termite droppings
- Laminated floors with blisters
- Carpets with holes
- Walls with holes and cavities
- Ceilings with buckles resembling signs of water damage
How to Get Rid of Flying Termites:
Though this task is best left to the professionals, there are certain simple tactics every homeowner can implement to prevent their home from flying termites. Firstly, please ensure that termites do not have any access to food, which, for them is mostly wood.
- Remove wood mulch and plant debris from your garden or porch
- Remove paper, lumber, and firewood piles away from infested areas. If you need to store wood outside the home during the winter, raise it above the ground so that there is no soil contact.
- Remove all termite infested trees and wooden stumps
Moisture control is another effective alternative to keep flying termites away. Here are a few simple tips that may help.
- Repair all the leaky pipes, faucets, and A/C units
- Clean your gutters and downspouts on a regular basis
- Seal all entry points to your building around water pipes
- Make sure there is no water accumulation on the roof
As far as treatment is concerned, there are many different alternatives depending on the types of termite. It is always better to engage professional exterminators because they can properly identify the problem and recommend different treatment options. At Vectothor, we have been helping home and office owners keep their properties free from all types of flying insects for many years. Contact us today to create a comprehensive flying insect mitigation plan for your property.